New research & studies

New academic study on wind farms and the nocebo effect

Following on from some excellent work out of the University of Auckland on the nocebo effect, Dr Fiona Crichton has added to her mounting pile of evidence. Published in ‘Health Psychology’ journal, the research considered the health response of subjects listening to wind farm sounds, whereby some participants expected to feel ill, and others expected positive health effects.

Researchers broke the participants into two groups, one of which watched a DVD about the negative health effects of wind farm infrasound, while the other watched a DVD about the positive effects of infrasound. Both groups were then exposed to audible wind sound overlaid with infrasound. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the group that watched the DVD on negative health effects felt ill, while the other group actually recorded a significant improvement in both symptoms and mood. The study concluded that the information subjects were exposed to informed their expectations of health effects and then indeed their actual symptom experience.

The researchers concluded that: “The onus falls on the media to report on health fears about wind farms cautiously, particularly given strong evidence that it is the discussion itself that may be creating and perpetuating health complaints.”

Dr Crichton wrote about the new research in The Conversation in November 2013.

New infrasound study released by South Australian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The South Australian EPA published results from its infrasound study in November, the report found that the wind farm was not generating significant levels of infrasound, and also that some project participants reported hearing a rumbling sound when the wind farm was not operating. Importantly, findings caused the EPA to conclude that there was not “sufficient evidence from the physical measurements of noise, to warrant a review of the Wind Farm Guidelines”.

A new wind farm and health website

The Public Health Association of Australia launched a new wind and health online resource late last year:  

It lists all the latest science on the issue of wind and health and is a valuable resource.